Two fundamental concepts in Software development are Web application development and Web Service but the question is that are they the same? They have some similarities and also some differences that make them two separate definitions.
An application that the users can reach through the internet is called a web application. Generally, any software that is used through a web browser could be called a web application. Web applications have gained immense popularity due to the easiness of use. According to W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), a web service is a system of software that allows different machines to communicate with each other through a network. In this article, we are going to read about both concepts in details and then compare them to each other.
Let’s find some meaning about web application
The web application is a web-based program that uses a web browser as its client. A web application is a software application that a user runs in the web browser. These applications can be used via browsers and there is no need to install them on any devices. They can be run through all browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, IE, and etc. It gives access to the business data anytime and anywhere through the Internet and the Intranet as well. Nowadays many applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype and etc. have their web app as well. It is useful for those who are not able or willing to install these apps on their devices. The web app is easy to use and can be used in every device no matter what the OS is. Integrity is one of the most important properties of the Web app. It is possible to work with one web app on a device and continue your work using another device anytime somewhere else. A web application can act as a word processor, storing information in the cloud and allowing you to ‘download’ the document onto your personal hard drive.
What’s the difference between the web app and the dynamic web page?
A web app is different from a dynamic web page in many aspects. A web page mainly emphasizes on the content itself, while a web app is focused on the function of the content. The content on a web page will be equally shown to all users, but the content in a web app is displayed differently based on the interaction and history of the users. One of the major distinction between a web page and web app is that the first one can only be used online; it means that the user has to be connected to the Internet in order to read the information on that web page. While the second one, a web app, can be used in both online and offline mode. The web application uses an application cache feature to work in offline mode. Developers can use the Application Cache interface to specify resources that the browser should cache and make available to offline users. Applications that are cached load and work correctly even if users click the refresh button when they are offline. All the data such as HTML, CSS, JS, and images are sent from the server to the user’s browser and are stored in the cache. The function of the Application Cache is that whenever the user is visiting the web application online, the application cache will be updated automatically and replaced the older data.
On the other hand, web service is described as a system of software allowing two electronic devices to interact with each other through a network. Web services achieve this task with the help of XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI open standards. Web services help different sources applications to interact with each other without sharing important data and all the necessary data is transported through a programmatic interface across a network. This interface can then be added to a web page, to give users particular functionality. Due to this, web services are not particular to one programming language or operating system and there is no need to use any browsers. In order to connect existing programs and reusing code, web services are useful. It also helps two platforms to link data. Web Services can be used to transfer data between Web Applications. Most of the times, web services do not necessarily have a user interface since it is used as a component in an application, while a web application is a complete application with a GUI. Furthermore, web services can be used to communicate or transfer data between web applications running on different platforms.
As a conclusion, in order to compare these two definitions, we can claim that even though Web Application and Web Service are a kind of the same thing, but there are some distinctions that make them two different concepts. First of all, a Web application is used by a human through their browsers, while a Web Service is used by computers. Second, a Web Application has Graphical User Interface, while it is not necessary for Web Services to have a UI since it is used as a component in an application. Third, Web application is run in a client-server environment which the client runs it with the help of a web browser and the server processes the data based on the client request and provides response, while a web service is an Application Program Interface (API) that runs on the server, which provides data to the client over Http through a consistent messaging system.